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First-Generation Student Resources

First Generation Clearing House

There is something special about being the first person in your family to attend and graduate from college. As a first-generation college student, you will face unique challenges and experiences. Below you will find some helpful resources that will help you navigate your way through college at Creighton University.

The College Terminology Cheat Sheet

College has a vocabulary of its own, and this list has been created to help as you begin to navigate the college experience.

Academic Terms

Credit Hour

  • one 50-minute time block over the course of a 15-week term
    (most classes are 3 credit hours)

Degree Requirements 

  • non-negotiable requirements a student must meet in order to earn a degree
        ~  128 credit hours are required for a Creighton bachelor's degree


  • the university's official summary of degree requirements, programs of study, and academic policies

Core Curriculum

  • a selection of required courses that all students in a college or institution must take

The Magis Core

  • Creighton's core curriculum, focused on life's big questions and developing skills for today's careers


  • a student's area of specialization, usually consisting of 34-45 credit hours in a specific subject
        ~  Creighton students cannot declare majors until at least 2nd semester; most declare during sophomore year


  • a student's secondary area of specialization; at Creighton, 18 credits of prescribed courses


  • optional courses for students; some may be part of a major, a minor, or a pre-professional track


  • courses that must be completed prior to taking another course (or declaring a major)

Grade Point Average (GPA) 

  • a summary of a student?s academic success in numbers (A=4, B=3, etc?)
        Good Standing: typically refers to students above the 2.0 GPA mark


  • the process through which students sign up for their classes each term

Registration PIN

  • the access code a student needs to register
    (changes each semester and available from the advisor)

Transient Credit 

  • courses students take at other universities that count toward degree requirements at Creighton
        ~  Creighton allows nine (9) credit hours to be transferred in, though the courses must be approved in advance


  • the period of time at the very beginning of a semester when students can change their course schedules
        ~  There is no penalty for this and these do not appear on a transcript


  • the process by which a student officially leaves a class during the term (yet after the drop/add deadline)
        ~  The grade on the transcript shows a "W" and there is a deadline for students to request a "W"


  • the professor's plan for the course, including course expectations, required readings and assignments


  • exams offered at the midpoint of the semester (sometime the first test in a course!)

Finals Week

  • the last week of the term, where the only scheduled classes are the actual final exams



Miscellaneous University Terms


  • could refer to the entire institution, but generally refers to a specific school
        ~  Creighton has three undergraduate colleges:  Arts and Sciences, Nursing, and the Heider College of Business

FERPA (Federal Education Rights and Policy Act) 

  • the law governing how colleges protect and share student info

FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)

  • this must completed every year to remain eligible for financial aid

Attendance Policy

  • varies by professor, and there is no University policy on excused v. unexcused absences

Work Study

  • financial aid awarded to a student in which the student received pay for hours worked (just like a job)

Greek System

  • student organizations (chapters) focused on social engagement and service to the community
        ~  Fraternities and sororities are great opportunities, but require a personal and financial commitment

Honor Societies

  • also typically use Greek letters, but membership is based on academic achievement and scholarship


  • a program or activity that may not specifically be academic, but complements a classroom experience


  • the act of enrolling in a college or degree program

Dead Week

  • traditionally the week before finals, where students believe (falsely) that tests and papers are not due


Creighton Terms

Net ID 

  • the ID number for any member of the Creighton community (students, staff, and faculty)


  • the portal for students to manage nearly all transactions (registration, transcripts, billing, etc?)


  • the online system for students to access most of their courses, though utilization by professors varies

RSP (Ratio Studiorum Program)

  • the advising program for 1st year students; includes a 1-credit orientation class

Creighton Connect 

  • an online student success tool that streamlines communication between students, instructors, advisors, and other support people and resources on campus. Pay close attention to emails and notifications from Creighton Connect and consider taking the recommended actions.


  • web-based scheduling for multiple resources on campus, including Academic Success tutoring and the Communication Center (for students in COM 101).


People Terms


  • the name given to the team of individuals teaching on a college campus
        ~  Professor: generally a PhD (terminal degree) who is a well-known expert in his or her field of study
        ~  Instructor: an individual hired to teach specific courses
        ~  Teaching Assistant (TA): an upper-class or graduate student who assists the course instructor


  • the individual entirely responsible for the activities in a specific college

Faculty Advisor 

  • a Creighton specific term that refers to a new student?s academic advisor (and instructor for RSP)

Major Advisor 

  • once a major is declared, a student is assigned a Major Advisor who is a faculty in that area

Decurion and Beadle 

  • students who serve as a Faculty Advisor's teaching assistant (Decurion) and peer advisor (Beadle)


  • the office responsible for academic records, grades, class schedules, drop/add/withdraw, and transcripts

Resident Assistant (RA)

  • students responsible for the actions and activities on assigned residence hall floors

Resident Director (RD) 

  • trained professionals who live on campus and manage specially designated residence halls

Student Success
resources to support academic success, pre-professional development, and career discernment*
Lower level of the Reinert Library

Creighton Career Center
assistance with career discernment, internships, and resume writing
Harper Center, 2nd Floor

Student Support Services
academic support program for 1st Generation and low-income students
Old Gym, 2nd Floor

Creighton Intercultural Center
services and programs that advance the cultural understanding of the Creighton family
Harper Center, 1st Floor

Office of Financial Aid
assistance with understanding aid packages, student employment, and financial counseling
Harper Center, 2nd Floor

Center for Health and Counseling
a full-service counseling center and medical clinic
Harper Center, 1st Floor